Rules & Scoring

NEW! USA Cheer Membership Requirement

USA Cheer Membership

USA Cheer has developed a comprehensive Membership Program, which includes a background check, athlete protection training, acknowledgement of concussion training with return to participation guidance, a member code of conduct, and safety training courses on risk management and safety rules.

Beginning with the upcoming 2021-22 competition season, Varsity Spirit will require that all school coaches, choreographers and personnel wishing to access the warmup area, backstage or coaches’ box at our competitions have a USA Cheer Coach or Professional Membership.

Varsity Spirit will cover the $33 membership fee for the 2021-22 season. You must complete your membership requirements before your first competition. December 1 is the last day to complete the requirements to receive this membership free of charge for the upcoming season. Please note that the background check will take 2-10 days to be processed and returned.

When checking in at Varsity Spirit competitions, you will now simply provide proof of membership for each coach from your organization who wishes to go into the warmup area, backstage or coaches’ box. Upon proof of membership, each coach will receive a wristband that will allow them access.

The USA Cheer Membership is available on the USA Cheer website. Once your membership is complete, you can print your membership card, or save and display it on your mobile device at event registration along with your photo ID. This season’s membership will be active until May 31, 2022.

CLICK HERE to learn more and to complete the steps required before your first competition. Use code VACH21 to receive your free USA Cheer Membership by December 1, 2021. 

Which membership option should you select?
One coach per team (usually the Head Coach) must complete the Cheer Coach Membership, which requires the Safety and Risk Management course to be completed every four years. This has been a requirement at Varsity Spirit events for the last two years. This course is discounted to $75 for USA Cheer members and will be at the expense of the coach. If your course certification is up to date, you will not need to retake the course until it expires. All other coaches, choreographers and adults affiliated with the team who wish to access the warmup area, backstage or coaches’ box must complete the Professional Membership. If you are a college spirit coordinator that coaches cheer and dance, you do not need to complete the Dance Membership in addition to the Cheer Coach or Professional Membership. 

High School

NCA High School Divisions

View 2022-2023 Divisions

Crowd Performance Divisions

  • Routine Length: 2:30 minutes
  • Levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Grade Levels: Junior High/Middle School, Junior Varsity/Freshman, Varsity, Coed Varsity, Non-Building, Non-Tumbling, Junior Club
  • These divisions offer the best of both worlds! Crowd Performance divisions emphasizes crowd leading ability with crowd effective material. Routines in these divisions will still include transitional stunts and pyramids but the cheer section will encourage a crowd response as if you were leading the fans at an actual game! Teams can use all sideline appropriate props such as signs, poms and megaphones in their routines.

Performance Divisions

  • Routine Length: 2:30 minutes
  • Levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Grade Levels: Junior High/Middle School, Varsity, Coed Varsity
  • Does your team excel in skills and performance environments? NCA Performance divisions showcase the athleticism of cheerleading with a focus on visual elements. Teams competing in these divisions have routines that consist of transitional stunts, pyramids and a cheer. The cheer does not have to encourage crowd participation.

Game Day Divisions

  • Routine Length: 3:00 minutes
  • Grade Levels: Junior High/Middle School, Junior Varsity, Varsity
  • Bring your sidelines to the spotlight in an NCA Game Day Division! Teams combine their Band Chant, Game Day Cheer, and Fight Song along with a Game Day situational response to showcase in one 3:00 minute performance. Game Day divisions are the perfect way to transition material you already have and practice on the sidelines for the national floor. Cheer teams also have the option to bring their dancers, mascots and band members to compete in the Spirit Program division. This division celebrates how spirit programs work together to enhance their school game day!

High School Rules & Restrictions

High School, Junior High, Middle School & Elementary

2021-2022 School Rule Book:

2021-2022 School Rules & Restrictions:

2021-2022 School Deductions & Violations:

High School Scoring Guidelines & Score Sheets


NCA College Divisions

2022 College Cheer Divisions:

2022 College Game Day Division:

College Rules & Restrictions

2022 NCA & NDA Collegiate Rule Book:

USA Cheer College Safety Rules:

NEW! Competition Resources

Criteria for Selecting Judges

Judges selected for one of our regional events should meet these standards

  • Have no direct affiliation with any team/gym who will be attending (or potentially will be attending) in a division they will judge. This includes coaching, choreographing, cleaning, etc.
  • Must be available for pre-event training via webinar at a time/date to be determined
  • Must pass and be trained and educated in one or more of the category scoresheets that are used for judging.
  • Must be of the highest ethical and moral values. Must possess and maintain the highest standards of integrity, ethics and professionalism.
  • Must complete Varsity Spirit Compliance Course to include
    • Background Check
    • Code of Conduct
    • Understanding, Recognizing and Reporting the Maltreatment of Children
    • Affidavit of Good Moral Character
  • Must be well-respected in the cheerleading, dance, band and/or song/pom industry.
  • Judges will be informed that any behavior deemed to be unsupportive of Varsity Spirit’s mission may be factored into the final selection of judges.

In addition to the regional event standards these additional criteria will be used when selecting our National Championship Judges.

  • Preferred to have judged or will judge 2 or more “Regional” type events during the 2021-2022 season.
  • Preferred to have been a judge or equitable experience for at least 3 years.

Judge Selection – Example Conflicts of Interest

Providing accurate, fair, and unbiased feedback for our customers is one of our top priorities.  With that said, our selected panel of judges must have no affiliation with teams in a division they are scheduled to judge.

Example of potential Conflicts of Interest:

  • Current Coach and/or Choreographer
  • Former Coach and/or Choreographer and/or Athlete
    • Must be 5 years out from any program
    • Must not have had any contact with a team this season
    • Did not go to any practices or performances in the last 5 years
  • Married / Partner / Dating / Related to coach
  • Parent of an athlete on a team

Due to the size of our National Championships, judge’s with conflicts may be selected. Every effort will be made to ensure that a judge with a potential Conflict of Interest is not scheduled to judge that team or school’s divisions.

Scoring & Legality Review Process

2021-2022 Scoring Review Process & Legality Review Process:

Judge Directory

2021-2022 Judge Directory:
Coming Soon